Being the parent of a budding musician is truly rewarding. Although it is hard work and a deep commitment for both parent and child, the joy you feel as your young one practices and performs their music is worth it all. There are many things that you as a parent can do to encourage and support your budding musician. Here are some of them:
Make the Commitment Your Own
Raising a young musician is no easy task. Your child may have commitments related to their music that require things such as a driver, which is likely you, the parent. It is important that you are as committed to this as your child, since you will be responsible for the day-to-day responsibilities in these pursuits. Some of these responsibilities are things such as scheduling, covering the costs, and reminding your child to keep at it when they are feeling unmotivated.
Immerse Your Child in All Things Music
Give your child every opportunity to learn about music. Expose them to places such as music and instrument museums. Play all types of music in your home. Buy instruments so that your child can experiment beyond the instrument he or she usually plays.
Find a Mentor
It is important to find a mentor for your budding musician’s pursuits. Find a teacher who is not only talented, but who your child enjoys as a person. Your child’s music teacher can make or break their love for music. I’ve seen this happen many times with dance as well – where a budding dancer will give up on their passion due to even a few negative comments from a dance teacher. It can be the difference between pursuing their passion and dropping it altogether.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Even the most talented of musicians must practice. Encourage your young musician to practice faithfully and never give up. Practice with them. Even if you don’t understand everything they are learning, you can do something like hold up flashcards and provide them with a set of questions and answers.
Don’t Push Too Hard
Your child, talented though he may be, will go through phases where he seems bored or uninterested in lessons. Try to encourage him to remain committed, but refrain from doing so forcefully. There may even be the occasional time that it is preferable to quit lessons altogether for short periods. It is important not to let your child get to a place of burnout as this could possibly ‘taint’ their impression of some things related to music.
Assess Your Motives
As your child becomes more and more accomplished, take pause to study your motives. When your child has reached a level where they are being asked to perform often, it can be easy to allow pride carry you away. There will be many opportunities for your child, some of which will enrich their experience and some of which will only serve to distract them from their goals. Be sure that everything your child is involved in is for their good, and to add emphasis to the passions that are already thriving inside of them.
Show Undivided Interest
The one thing your young musician wants more than anything else is your undivided attention. When they are playing you a song they have composed, put down your smart phone (or any other device) and really listen to them. Pay attention to the beautiful detail of each note, and admire – out loud – the effort and passion you see them putting into their music.
Raising a budding musician is enjoyable, but of course it is not always easy. Sometimes it seems that there are a lot of things to remember, and a lot of places to be at once. Try to keep the above points in mind so you can truly encourage and support your child as they grow to be a lover of music!